Sorel resigns as MnDOT commissioner

Agency head leaving to become president, CEO of AAA Minneapolis

ST. PAUL — Tom Sorel announced today he is resigning as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to become the president and CEO of AAA Minneapolis.

Sorel, who has served as MnDOT commissioner since April 2008, begins his new role at AAA Minneapolis Dec. 1.

“Tom Sorel has served the state of Minnesota with excellence, and I thank him for his dedicated public service to the people of Minnesota,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “Tom’s strong leadership, depth of knowledge, and decades of experience will serve him well in this new venture. I wish him well as he takes on this new role.”

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the citizens of Minnesota as MnDOT Commissioner for the past four years,” Sorel said. “MnDOT is a great organization supported by exemplary public servants who I will miss tremendously. My thanks go to Governor Dayton, who re-appointed me as commissioner, and the legislative transportation committees that confirmed me. As I move into the next phase of my life’s journey, I will always cherish my time serving as MnDOT Commissioner.”

It was Sorel who appointed Jon Chiglo project manager of the St. Croix River Crossing Bridge project earlier this year after President Obama signed a bill that authorized the project by overriding a National Parks Service ruling that cited the project’s adverse affects on the river under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Dayton has appointed Bernie Arseneau to serve as acting MnDOT commissioner. Arseneau, MnDOT’s current deputy commissioner and chief engineer, has served the agency for nearly 30 years. He has had a variety of roles at MnDOT, including division director for the MnDOT Policy, Safety & Strategic Initiatives Division, director of the Office of Traffic, Safety and Operations while serving as the state traffic engineer, area maintenance engineer and tort claims and traffic standards engineer.

Arseneau is an active participant in the leadership of the Toward Zero Deaths Program, and he chairs the AASHTO Sub Committee on Traffic Engineering. He is also a member of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways and the Standing Committee on Highway Traffic Safety.

Arseneau has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota, is a registered professional engineer and a professional traffic operations engineer.